The human mind is a miraculous super power capable of extraordinary feats of imagination and creation.
Awesome. What’s not to love about that…?
Well, these powerful mental constructs, in the form of memories, fears, projections, anxieties, shame, insecurities and needs, can also disrupt and obscure the peace and pure potential of this present moment.
And all of them revolve around, are held and maintained, like planets around a sun, by this idea of self. The concept of who we are is like a spider at the centre of a web.
The fascinating thing though is that this powerful sun, this spinning spider is actually illusory. It is itself a construct of mind, of conditioning, thought and belief.
If the mind knew that, then no problem of course.
But the mind doesn’t. It believes. It defends and protects and strategises to protect this identity and as such the experience of life can be one of profound suffering.
Our September programme, ‘YOU in Ten’ is exploring ten different ways in which the mind can settle into reality. We will look at:
1. The Origin of You
This is a fascinating starting point. Where did you begin? We will explore the three different ways in which you exist or appear to exist and how an understanding of each of them is our true sanity
2. Your Survival
In this diagram, we will consider how the priority of survival of the physical body gets transferred to survival of the concept of self – often to the detriment of physical health. We will look at how the question ‘What is at stake?’ helps make transparent what is actually being defended.
3. Your Personality
It’s a confronting idea but our personality is not fixed. It can’t be. It is heavily dependent on the conditioned belief of ourselves as a fixed entity, separate from the world around us. If we are not our personality, then what are we?
4. Your Relationships
In this section, we consider a whole new way of understanding relationships. Currently they might be seen as an external and separate world that we have to navigate to protect, assert and affirm ourselves. We will consider that our relationships are in fact the external manifestation of the conditioned idea of self and therefore the route to its liberation.
5. Your Self Identity
We will look at the reach of identification. Of how it extends out beyond the body to family, job, house, garden, town, politics… and how, as a result, all of these things become extensions of the self.
6. Your Body
The mind thinks it is in control of the body. But what if it was the other way round? What if the body is actually the only reality and its sensations, pre-labelling, are the only navigation?
7. Your Coherence and Essence
In this section we consider all the aspects of our self – the thoughts, experiences, feelings – that are resisted and how through understanding they find a coherence and integration that is the essence of ourselves and of true peace.
8. Your Freedom
We think freedom is something that has to be obtained through the right choices, through greater control, through the exertion of our free will. With our eigth diagram we will consider that there is no such thing as free will and that this is in fact the realisation of freedom.
9. Your Purpose
What is the purpose of your life? It’s a heavy question until we realise that the only possible purpose is lighter than we could ever imagine.
10 Your Expression
I’ve changed the order to add this in as our final diagram as it seems to me to be the ultimate outcome of an understanding of self. We will consider the shift from a life which is entirely predictable in its expression, because it is the running of an ancient script to one which is a continual undoing of that script and therefore impossible to predict….
If you are reading this before 1 September 2021, I hope you will join us for all the benefits of doing the course live in the community. Please click here.